Galatians 3 Smack in the Face

This past week, I have been discussing with several people via Twitter justification and sanctification. I have always understood justification as something that Jesus did for me. Sanctification, on the other hand, seemed to be about what I do.

One of the verses that was shared was from Galatians 3.  Here is that Scripture:

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh? Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? (Galatians 3:2-6 ESV)

We know we are saved by grace through faith not through the law.  The Law clearly exposes our need for a Savior. And this is not of ourselves but a gift from God.

But what about after salvation? Do we just need grace for 60% of our life--those parts that are tainted by sin or the flesh?  Do we believe the 40% that we think we have all together is then accomplished in our own strength?  I need 100% of Jesus--for my sin, flesh, and even my works.

Galatians is saying that we received justification through the Holy Spirit.  And we need the Holy Spirit to bring about sanctification. It's not about telling others "do more, try harder" to get people to serve, obey, love others.  It is an act of the Holy Spirit who reminds us who God is and who we are based on finished work of Christ. As we take the focus off of ourselves, lists, and the law, we have freedom through the power of the Spirit to love. Works are then accomplished as they flow freely from love.

What do you think? Am I crazy? How would you describe justification and sanctification?

Paul in this passage from Galatians seems to make a strong point that both are the work of the Spirit and not from ourselves.


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